Behind the Scenes of the Gumberg Library

As we creep ever so slowly to the end of January, I am excited to report that I have a few days of interning at the Gumberg Library already under my belt. I am even more excited to say that, although it has only been a short amount of time, I absolutely love the work I have started.

I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t quite sure what working at the library would mean when I accepted the position; I knew it would have something to do with developing humanities based research guides, and assisting our humanities librarian—Mr. Ted Bergfelt—with whatever he may need. Now that I’ve had some experience, I can finally start to get a grasp on what exactly happens “behind the scenes” of the Gumberg Library.

To start behind the scenes, we have to go to the office space at the library—located to the left of the fourth-floor entrance, if you’re curious. In the back, there are cubicles, desks, chairs, a bit of décor, and some very lovely librarians. To start the shift, I sign in and indicate the hours I’ll be working, and go back to my desk (yes, my desk. It’s a lovely wooden one that makes me feel both fancy and professional). While back there, I open my laptop and venture into the world of “LibApps,” the program used to develop, edit, and manage the library’s research guides.

For my first project, Mr. Bergfelt taught me how to create a research guide step-by-step by having me create my own one on the philosopher/mathematician/scientist/overall smarty-pants Rene Descartes. There are a few sections that are in a typical research guide—there are books by and about the author, websites, media resources, links to research databases, resources based on the topics that the author is known for (such as a link for strictly physics resources in the Descartes guide), and so on. The setup is perfect for a first time researcher, a starting point for a project, or just a curious student eager to learn more. As we progress through the semester,

I’ll continue to make more guides, including a guide on a subject/person of my choosing (any suggestions on what I should research?).

Along with the guides, there will be a few additional projects that I will get to work on. My most recent project was a short one: make a flyer for a book display (the book being John Fried’s The Martin Chronicles—check it out!). The flyer gave me some creative freedom, and I was especially enthusiastic to be advertising a book written by a faculty member of the English Department. The next project I will be assisting with is a bigger one: preparations to celebrate Black History Month. The events the library will host should be particularly interesting, as the plan is to turn focus towards African American culture in the Pittsburgh community. I am very much looking forward to help make the celebration a reality, and to learn more about the subject along the way!

Quote o’ the Post: “The beginning is always today.” -Mary Shelley

PS: With every post, I’ll wrap it up with a quote that fits the post’s subject; English majors love quotes.


-Gabby Kolencik


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